The annual City of Dreams Pavilion on Governors Island uses architecture to highlight the importance of sustainable design and asks those submitting to the competition to consider the environmental impact of their work throughout the life cycle of the pavilion, from material sourcing to disposal or reuse at the end of the season. Previous winners have included designs made of reused plastic cups and discarded hangers. The competition, entering its 7th year, is hosted by FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY).

This year, Team Aesop, an interdisciplinary team of designers and engineers from institutions like Columbia University GSAPP, Cooper Union, Hofstra University and Schlaich Bergermann Partner, has been selected for their pavilion “Cast & Place,” which will utilize 300,000 aluminum cans, recycled and cast into cracked clay. Most of the aluminum is sourced from New York City, working directly with canners (those that collect cans and bottles to make a living), school children, and the community, and the soil the team will use comes from an excavation site in Flushing. The clay is pure, removed from glacial deposits that have not touched the atmosphere since settling during the last ice age. The wood comes from the Brooklyn-based firm Big Reuse which takes wood from demolition sites and storms back into building materials.

The team says they are “pioneering a new fabrication method to use cracked earth molds (think “dry river bed”) for casting structural aluminum panels. The cracks are filled with molten aluminum. Void becomes structure. By supporting us you are helping develop material research with exciting future applications.”

Cast & Place-City of Dreams Pavilion-2017-Governors Island-FIGMENT Festival-NYC-2Small prototype created by Team Aesop

The numbers are also key to the concept: the number of cans, 300,000 comes from the amount used by New York City in one hour. By recycling aluminum, 90% of the energy is saved that would have been used to make new materials.

Cast & Place-City of Dreams Pavilion-2017-Governors Island-FIGMENT Festival-NYC-4A set of C&P ingots cast from aluminum

Cast & Place-City of Dreams Pavilion-2017-Governors Island-FIGMENT Festival-NYC-3A Working Prototype

To make this year’s pavilion happen, Team Aesop has launched a Kickstarter to raise the $30,000 needed for materials collection, fabrication, installation and final disassembly. Donations as low as $10 will get prizes, like a rugged ingot cast from 20 recycled aluminum cans with “C&P”, the Cast & Place monogram, embossed in its surface, the chance to see a casting in person, a custom made crack pattern bench, and a panel from the actual pavilion.

Next, check out the City of Dreams Pavilion on Governors Island in previous years.